End of an era: Farewell, Marco Reus

End of an era: Farewell, Marco Reus

At the end of the 2023/24 season, Borussia Dortmund will bid farewell to one of its greatest legends.

It was announced last week, that Marco Reus would not be extending his current contract.

This brings an end to a 12-year stint, an untouchable legacy and an incredible journey.

The second most goals in club history. The fourth most appearances in club history.

Two DFB-Pokals. Two DFL-Supercups. Two-time German footballer of the year. Three-time Bundesliga player of the season. Six Bundesliga team of the season appearances.

Add all that success to his story, and it’s no secret why he is one of the players most liked by neutrals across the globe.

From boyhood ‘Borusse’ to hero of the Yellow Wall.

From Robert Lewandowski to Jude Bellingham, countless BVB icons have come and gone while Reus has plied his trade at Signal Iduna Park.

As Bayern Munich have continued to dominate German football for over a decade, so many top class players have left North Rhine-Westphalia in search of success elsewhere.

But Marco Reus stayed.

Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

A player blessed with unbelievable technical ability, Reus was never quite so blessed with fortune.

The playmaker has only represented Germany at two major international tournaments.

Having been forced to miss out on many due to injury, the 34-year-old missed out on a World Cup medal in 2014, despite being widely regarded as the national team’s best player.

Reus will also leave Dortmund without ever getting his hands on a Bundesliga title.

But with his loyalty, passion and absurd natural abilities, Marco Reus leaves a huge void at BVB.

Over a decade of magic

Marco Reus at Borussia MönchengladbachBorn in Dortmund, Reus played for the club’s academy between the ages of 6 and 16.

The German started his professional career at Rot Weiss Ahlen before really making his name at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

As ‘die Schwarzgelben’ secured the double and successive Bundesliga titles under Jürgen Klopp in 2011/12, Reus scored 18 goals and assisted 12 in the Bundesliga alone at ‘Gladbach.

Klopp then opted to bring ‘Woody’ home for a reported €17m.

He went from strength to strength in that iconic side. In his debut season, Reus delivered 19 goals and 16 assists across all competitions, as the club reached the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley.

The 48-time Germany international formed a perfect partnership with Mario Götze in Lewandowski’s supporting cast.

German legend Franz Beckenbauer said at the time there was “no better duo”.

After Bayern triumphed in the all-German London final, Götze jumped ship, joining Pep Guardiola’s side for €37m.

It’s fair to say this started quite the trend.

The following season, Reus was even better. 23 goals and 22 assists followed.

But having finished runners-up to Guardiola’s Bayern in both the league and cup, Lewandowski also left for Bavaria.

Problems with injuries started to creep in, another staple of a career which deserved so much better.

But Reus continued to put up strong numbers in black and yellow.

Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund (2014)
(Photo: GoodFon)

Post-Klopp days

The 2015/16 campaign saw him net on 23 occasions, setting up a further eight goals.

That season was Dortmund’s first without Klopp at the helm.

Fellow former Mainz boss Thomas Tuchel replaced him in a time of great change at Signal Iduna Park.

Legendary defender Mats Hummels also left for the Allianz Arena, while Guardiola tempted another ‘Borusse’ his way, with Ilkay Gundogan joining him, this time at Manchester City.

FIFA 17 cover star Reus only managed 24 appearances in the next term, but registered 13 goals and eight assists, as he got his hands on his first Pokal.

Tuchel had assembled quite the team. But Ousmane Dembele was the next to go, followed by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic.

In a terrific season for the club under Lucien Favre in 2018/19, the ‘Prince of Dortmund’ racked up 17 goals and 11 assists in just 27 Bundesliga matches.

Halfway through the 2020/21 campaign, Favre was replaced on an interim basis by Edin Terzic.

The current BVB gaffer delivered Reus his second Pokal crown.

That year, he notched up 11 goals and 14 assists along the way, as ‘die Schwarzgelben’ reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in four years.

In Marco Rose’s only season in charge in North Rhine-Westphalia, a 32-year-old Reus delivered 16 Bundesliga assists.

Those assists contributed to his overall tally of 18, to go with 13 goals in all competitions.

One of those goals was a mesmerising effort against Besiktas in the Champions League.

When he wasn’t injured, the former ‘Gladbach man continued to age like a fine wine.

Last season, Reus only made 14 Bundesliga starts, but had a hand in 12 goals, as he came agonisingly close to finally winning the ‘Meisterschale’.

How will this impact BVB?

Throw it forward to this season and sadly, the ‘Rolls Reus’ is no longer quite the key player he once was for Dortmund.

He has started 23 games in all competitions, starting half of the club’s Bundesliga matches.

Despite the relatively low number of starts, Reus has still scored eight goals and set up a further nine.

That quality he has is still clear for all to see, even at 34 years old.

This was particularly evident last Saturday. The club icon made his fifth start of 2024, scoring once while claiming two assists, as Terzic’s side humiliated Augsburg at the Westfalenstadion.

Reus has predominantly played as an attacking midfielder this term.

Only Julian Brandt, Marcel Sabitzer and Emre Can have started more games in midfield for the Black and Yellows.

While he hasn’t been such a regular fixture in the BVB team, there’s still clearly a lot left in Reus.

It could be argued that he could’ve played more this season, in what has been a disappointing Bundesliga campaign.

But perhaps he has had the correct workload, as a player that has had so many fitness issues in the past.

Data from transfermarkt.com shows that in Reus’ 12 years at Signal Iduna Park, he has missed 213 games through injury or illness.

Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund 2023

The right time?

With that, you may think a 34-year-old, injury-prone squad player can be replaced.

But Marco Reus is an institution at Borussia Dortmund. Losing a leader, an icon and a man respected by everyone in the dressing room will always have a great impact.

Maybe the post-Marco Reus era is a good time for ‘die Borussen’ to put things right and start afresh, after a lot of discontent among the club’s hierarchy.

Changes upstairs are already in the workings so perhaps the club can now move on and start a new dynasty.

But for now, there still appears to be some unfinished business.

A fairytale ending?

Marco Reus has a few things in his trophy cabinet but it’s missing a couple of notable honours.

In his 12 years with Dortmund, and his earlier years with Mönchengladbach, he never got to lift a Bundesliga, nor a Champions League title.

The likes of Lewandowski, Gundogan and Erling Haaland have gone onto become European champions since leaving the Westfalenstadion.

But Reus has remained loyal, yet also remains without either of those major honours.

This season, despite trailing the champions Bayer Leverkusen by 24 points, BVB have had a European run of dreams.

They successfully navigated (and topped) a group of death consisting of Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle United.

Knockout wins over PSV and Atletico Madrid have seen Terzic’s side reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2013.

Where was the final played that year?

That’s right – Wembley Stadium.

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich made the final four that year. Along with ‘die Schwarzgelben’ and PSG, the case is the same this year.

It all sounds very familiar.

Now, a goal from Niclas Füllkrug at Signal Iduna Park sees the club take a 1-0 lead into this week’s second leg away at PSG.

If the 1997 champions get over the line against Kylian Mbappe and co., then they will be returning to Wembley to avenge their demons from 2013.

This would be Reus’ final game in black and yellow… now what a way to bow out that would be.

But who will taste European glory? Raphael Guerreiro, Ousmane Dembele, Jude Bellingham, or Marco Reus?

If ever there was an added incentive to go and get a trophy, doing so for arguably the club’s greatest ever legend certainly seems enough.

Heja BVB. But for now, auf wiedersehen, Marco. Danke für alles.

(Featured Image: GoodFon)